The first list shows IOGEAR UC232A which is based on the PL2303 IC.
Bruce describes a “red device” sitting between the USB cable and the RS-232 cable. However, a quick look at the IOGEAR web site shows a “grey plug” with appears to have green and red LEDs.
So, maybe the station delivered to Bruce included a different USB to Serial adapter although still based on the PL2303 chip. Or, the plug “glows” red because of a fault?
On Prolific Technology’s web site, there is a note ( http://www.prolific.com.tw/US/ShowProduct.aspx?p_id=225&pcid=41 ):
Please be warned that counterfeit (fake) PL-2303HX (Chip Rev A) USB to Serial Controller ICs using Prolific’s trademark logo, brandname, and device drivers, were being sold in the China market. Counterfeit IC products show exactly the same outside chip markings but generally are of poor quality and causes Windows driver compatibility issues (Yellow Mark Error Code 10 in Device Manager). We issue this warning to all our customers and consumers to avoid confusion and false purchase.
Hoping this helps.